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Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Written by Dr.Mary

What is Hand Foot and Mouth Disease?

This is a contagious but mild viral infection very common in children who are young. It is characterized by mouth sores as well as a rash on the hand and feet and is caused in most cases by coxsackievirus.

There is no certain treatment for this disease. The risk of infection can be reduced for this illness by the practice of good hygiene, for instance washing hands thoroughly and often.


Hand-foot-and-mouth infection can trigger all of the following symptoms and signs or just a few of them. They consist of:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Malaise – or feeling of being not well
  • Red, blister-like, painful sores on the gums, inside of the cheeks and tongue
  • Non-itchy, red, possibly blistery rash on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands as well as often the buttocks
  • Infants and toddlers irritability
  • No appetite

The normal period from being infected to the development of symptoms and signs – incubation period – is 3 to 7 days. The fever in most cases is the first symptom of this infection, followed by a throat that is sore and often an appetite that is poor as well as not feeling very well. 1 or 2 days after the fever has begun, sores that are painful can begin in the throat or mouth, followed by a rash on the feet and hands as well as possibly the buttocks.

This infection is normally only a minor sickness which causes only a few days of fever as well as mild symptoms and signs. The family physician needs to be called if the sore throat or mouth sores keeps the child from consuming fluids. Also contact your physician if the child does not get better after a few days.

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease Causes

The cause that is most common for this illness is contamination by coxsackievirus A16. The coxsackievirus is in a set of viruses referred to as non-polioenteroviruses. Other enteroviruses often can cause hand-foot-and-mouth illness.

Oral consumption is the chief mode of transfer for this infection. The sickness spreads thru person-to-person interaction with throat as well as nose discharges, blister fluid, saliva or stool of an individual with this infection. This virus also can spread thru fluid mist in the air after somebody sneezes or coughs.

This disease is more common in child care sites due to the frequency of potty training as well as changes of diapers and since little children place hands in their mouths often.

Children can infect others when the virus is in the body but there are no symptoms or signs and this virus can stay in the body for often weeks. Some individuals, mostly adults, are able to pass the virus without having any symptoms or signs.

Occurrences of this illness are frequent in summer and fall months in the US as well as other moderate climates. In climates that are tropical, outbreaks happen year round.


The more frequent problem with this disease is dehydration. Since this infection can develop sores in the throat and mouth, it makes consuming anything difficult as well as painful. Child need to be monitored carefully to ensure they consume enough fluid while sick with this illness. When dehydration becomes severe, IV fluids can become needed.

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease usually is a minor sickness with only a few days with fever and mild symptoms and signs. But, a very rare as well as serious type of the coxsackievirus may involve the brain and can trigger other complications:


This very severe as well as potentially life-threatening illness involves inflammation of the brain. This is caused by a virus but is very rare.

Viral Meningitis

This is when the infection inflames the membranes or meninges as well as cerebrospinal fluid around the spinal cord as well as the brain. This type of meningitis is normally mild, clearing up on its own.

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease Treatment

There is no precise therapy for hand-foot-and-mouth disease. Symptoms and signs of this disease normally go away after 7 to ten days.

Some form of topical oral anesthetic can aid in the relief of mouth sore pain. Over the counter pain drugs other than aspirin, for instance Tylenol, Advil or Motrin can aid in relieving overall discomfort.

Some beverages and foods can aggravate any blisters on the tongue, throat, or mouth. Below are some tips to make the soreness of blisters less uncomfortable as well as making drinking or eating more tolerable:

  • Sucking on ice chips or ice pops
  • Eat sherbet or ice cream
  • Drink beverages that are cold for instance ice water or milk
  • Acidic beverages and foods are to be avoided, for instance fruit drinks, citrus fruits as well as soda.
  • Salty or spicy foods are to be avoided
  • After meals rinse the mouth with water that is warm

If the child has the ability to rinse without swallowing, rinsing the mouth with warm salt water can be very comforting. Make a mixture of ½ teaspoon of salt with one cup of water that is warm. Let the child rinse with this solution a number of times a day, or when needed to aid in reducing the inflammation and pain of the throat and mouth of sores caused by this illness.

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease Pictures

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